A critical challenge in the commercialization of solid oxide fuel cells is the selection and manufacture of components that will last for thousands of hours, but at an economical cost. Building on test results presented at the 12th DOE SECA Workshop July 27th, NexTech Materials, Ltd. has performed accelerated stability tests that predict a service life of over 40,000 hours at 750°C for low cost ferritic steel (AL 441 HP) interconnect components protected by its manganese-cobalt spinel (MCO) coatings.
This achievement represents a critical milestone for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). SOFCs generate electricity at extremely high efficiencies, but operate at high temperature, creating a number of engineering challenges. To date, SOFC system lifetime has been limited by the metal component oxidation. As demonstrated by NexTech, MCO protective coatings reduce the oxidation rate of ferritic steels by a factor of twenty or more. NexTech's coating product leverages its exclusive world-wide license of coating technology patented by Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited (AIM/ASX: CFU). The MCO coating leverages NexTech's materials and sintering process technology to enhance the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the coating process.
NexTech Materials, Ltd. has also completed extensive manufacturing analyses of the protective coating process. A three-stage technology roadmap has been developed to provide SOFC developers component coating solutions at part counts ranging from prototyping to full volume production. Additional details regarding the coating solutions products, including toll coating services, technology licensing and technology transfer can be found at: www.nextechmaterials.com.
NexTech's CEO, William Dawson commented on the milestone, "These results are encouraging for solving one of the key remaining practical limitations of solid oxide fuel cell technology". NexTech is continuing to study a wide range of ferritic steels and will continue to collect additional lifetime predictive data over a wide range of temperatures.